The Boxer-McKeon Wilderness bill now has a clear path to pass the Senate. With a new Congress in session, the controversial Wilderness bill is now filibuster proof and could be passed by the Senate this week.
Also known as the Eastern Sierra San Gabriel Wilderness Act, the proposed wilderness areas had been wrapped up into a larger land use omnibus bill, but the previous congress did not pass the larger bill. A new land use bill that would affect close to 2 million acres nationwide, including 438,000 acres in the Eastern Sierra, was re-introduced into the newly elected Congress. The bill is known as the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act 2009.
In what is called a cloture vote, 66 Senators approved limits on the use of the filibuster to slow this new land bill. One of the reasons to push for the cloture vote was to overcome the opposition of Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, explained Lindsey Mask with Congressman McKeons office.
The Senate is expected to pass the land use bill this week. How long before the Boxer-McKeon Wilderness Bill reaches the desk of the President is yet to be seen. Mask says that the omnibus land use bill has not yet been scheduled for the House of Representatives.